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The Attack on Fort Duquesne

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The Attack on Fort Duquesne

Posted: 26 Jul 2012 1:58PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Jul 2012 4:08PM GMT
Who believes this didn't happen?

King Louis XV was notified of the sending of English troops from Ireland to Fort Duquesne and the information is going to Gov Duquesne so he could counter the plained attack by the English. The attack on Ft Duquesne in Pittsburgh was headed by General Braddock and his advisor George Washington. The French troops, on the order of Louis XV were coming from Canada, to counter the attack.

NOTE: Gov Duquesne was related to Agatha Murphy, the daughter of King Louis XV. She was well known to be related to the LaSalle Duquesne Guiton and Murphy families.


In November 1754 the British Parliament authorized a million pounds for the army and navy with £50,000 to move two regiments from Ireland to Virginia in January. In February 1755 French Marine Minister Jean-Baptiste de Machault d'Arnouville informed Governor Duquesne that Louis XV was planning to send four battalions to Canada and two to Louisbourg. Pierre de Vaudreuil de Cavagnal was appointed governor-general of Canada in January and arrived at Quebec in June. He was the son of a governor-general but was the first to have been born in Canada. François Bigot made friends with Machault, who sent him back to Quebec as intendant. The private fortunes of Vaudreuil and his secretary Saint-Sauveur began to increase.

In the spring of 1755 Admiral Edward Boscawen commanded a large fleet from England that intercepted part of the French convoy carrying 3,150 men and seized the ships Alcide and Lys with 330 soldiers. Nine companies arrived at Quebec in June. In 1755 Admirals Boscawen and Edward Hawke captured about three hundred French merchant vessels and six thousand men. Also in 1755 nearly five thousand men from Massachusetts enlisted, and Connecticut raised 3,300 men for the war. Rhode Island tried to raise volunteers by offering a bounty but had to resort to conscription. In 1755 Rhode Island elected Stephen Hopkins as governor, and he financed the military with bills of credit that came to be called "Crown Point" money.

On April 14, 1755 the governors of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia met at Alexandria, Virginia with Major-General Edward Braddock, Admiral Augustus Keppel, William Johnson, and Benjamin Franklin. Braddock appointed Johnson to coordinate the efforts of the Iroquois allies. Johnson operated from Crown Point and sent George Croghan with fifty Mingo warriors to help the general. Braddock also approved an expedition into Acadia and put Brigadier-General Robert Monckton in command. Braddock told Governor Shirley to reinforce Fort Chouaguen at Oswego and prepare to attack Niagara. Governor James Glen of South Carolina had been excluded from the meeting, but his province raised the first £6,000 that was given to Braddock for the campaign. Braddock treated the provincials with contempt, plundering them to get his supplies. British officers inflicted strict punishments, usually three hundred lashes for a minor offense. Enlisted men were given a thousand lashes for stealing, being asleep on sentry duty, or for refusing to turn out with the guard.

General Braddock moved his army of 2,500 to Winchester and in June to Fort Cumberland, leaving seventy miles with no road to Fort Duquesne. Braddock asked Franklin to procure wagons and horses for his expedition. Franklin published an advertisement explaining how much they would be paid and that they would not be required to fight. In conclusion he warned that if they did not provide them, the Hussar John St. Clair with soldiers might take them. Because they did not know Braddock, Franklin gave his personal bond. He had discussions with Braddock and warned him about Indian ambushes. After Braddock's defeat Franklin was sued for lost wagons, but General Shirley set up a commission that eventually paid the claims.

The Mingo warriors brought their families; but Braddock did not like his officers and men getting involved with the women, and he ordered the families to depart. All but eight of the Mingo warriors left also. Governor Dinwiddie had promised four hundred warriors from the southern tribes, but his feud with South Carolina's Governor Glen prevented that. Governor Shirley assigned Col. Lydius to recruit Iroquois, but they considered him a "snake" and a "devil" for having cheated them out of land for Connecticut. Croghan also arranged for a delegation of Delaware chiefs led by Shingas, who later reported that Braddock said, "No savage should inherit the land" and that he "did not need their help."3

The English learned that Fort Duquesne had a garrison of only 45 men. Braddock's aide-de-camp Washington suggested sending 1,200 men ahead to attack Fort Duquesne before it could be reinforced; but he was ill and stayed behind. Shawnees and Delawares had often been told that the English would remain east of the mountains, and Contrecoeur sent them to harass the English army on the road. On July 9 he sent Liénard de Beaujeu with 72 French marines, 146 Canadians, and 637 Indians to attack Braddock's force. Lacking Indian help, the English had not scouted their flanks well and were ambushed a few miles from the fort. The British troops met the charge and killed Beaujeu. Jean-Daniel Dumas took command and ordered his troops to hold the narrow road while the Indians from behind trees shot down the British soldiers. Braddock refused to let his men disperse and take cover. He had three of his horses shot and two disabled before he was mortally wounded. Washington arrived for the battle and had two of his horses shot and three bullets pass through his coat and one through his hat. In this defeat 63 of 86 officers were killed or wounded, as were 914 of the 1,373 English soldiers with about 600 killed. French losses were only three officers, three Canadians, two Marines, and fifteen Indians. As the English fled, they left behind wagons, packhorses, cattle, equipment, Braddock's papers, and £25,000 sterling in a chest.

During the retreat four days later the dying Braddock gave his command to Col. Thomas Dunbar and ordered him to destroy their provisions so that wagons could be used for wounded men, who had been able to walk or had been carried by others for two days. Dunbar continued the retreat and abandoned the heavy artillery to the numerically weaker French. He asked for winter quarters at Philadelphia with about 1,600 men, but on August 6 Major-General William Shirley ordered them to move on to Albany. Most of the Indians in the Ohio territory joined the French for their own safety. Scarouady and the Delawares Shingas and Captain Jacobs went to Philadelphia, but Governor Morris told them to wait for instructions from the Iroquois council at Onondaga. In the fall Shingas and Jacobs led raids for the French in the back-country. Braddock's papers were published by the Mercure de France and showed the British "design to take possession of Canada," an intention the English diplomats had been denying in Paris.

Governor Shirley of Massachusetts and Lt. Governor Lawrence of Nova Scotia had commissioned Major John Winslow to raise two thousand volunteers to fight the French Acadians in Nova Scotia. Brigadier-General Robert Monckton led the expedition, and 37 ships approached Fort Beauséjour in early June 1755. Commander Du Chambon de Vergor had only 150 soldiers and 240 Acadians. When word got out that Louisbourg could not send any reinforcements, a delegation of Acadians insisted the French capitulate. After two days of siege they surrendered on June 16, though Le Loutre escaped to Quebec. Villeray gave up Fort Gaspereau on the same terms, and the French turned over Fort St. John to Captain Rous a few days later. The French commandant had declared that the Acadians in the fort had been forced to serve. The Acadian settlers were ordered to turn in all their firearms even though many protested that they needed them for hunting. Lawrence demanded that the Acadians swear absolute allegiance to England or be deported. Acadian delegations met at a council, and on July 28, 1755 they refused. They were detained at St. George's island for deportation to the English colonies, and none of those who had refused were allowed to take the oath and stay. On July 28 the chief justice of Nova Scotia, Jonathan Belcher, handed down his decision that the Acadians who refused to take the oath were "rebels" and could be removed. Lawrence did not write to the Board of Trade about the deportation until October, and they showed their approval by promoting him to full governor.

In what the Acadians called the "Grand Dérangement" 6,941 people were deported to English colonies in 46 ships, one of which was taken over by 25 exiles and sailed to Fort St. John. Some Acadians hid in the woods or fled, and 86 captives escaped from Fort Lawrence by digging a trench under the wall. At Grand Pré alone the English took 5,000 cattle and burned 255 houses and 431 barns. The contractors Apthorpe, Hancock, Baker, and Saul were friends of Shirley. They provided the transports and seized the cattle without paying compensation. Only Connecticut and Massachusetts were given notice that the Acadians were coming. Two thousand were resettled in Massachusetts. Connecticut distributed their quota of Acadians to towns while trying to keep families together; they were managed by selectmen who were in charge of helping those in need.

Some Acadians moved west and settled in Louisiana, where they were welcomed along the Mississippi coast north of the Germans and became known as Cajuns. Most of the English colonies accepted the Acadians, but Virginia and South Carolina shipped them to England, where they were imprisoned until the 1763 Treaty of Paris repatriated them to France. Many were treated as indentured servants, and some refused to work because they considered themselves prisoners of war. In Georgia the Acadians seemed to disappear, either dying of smallpox or fleeing to Louisiana or the West Indies. Boishébert managed to save some refugees from Beaubassin, Beauséjour, Memramcook, and Shepody, and about two thousand Acadians made it to Canada. In 1847 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Evangeline about the Acadian deportation.

After Braddock's defeat in July 1755, Governor Shirley became commander-in-chief. He tried to take control of the Iroquois from William Johnson; but the Iroquois would have nothing to do with Shirley's campaign because they said his agent Lydius was a "snake." Shirley made the influential De Lancey family his enemy by trying to stop their smuggling between Albany and Montreal, and so they withheld New York's support. Governor Vaudreuil of Canada sent the newly arrived French troops with Canadian militia under Major-General Jean Armand Dieskau to Lake Ontario. Johnson led four hundred Indians and 3,500 colonial recruits to the southern end of Lac St. Sacrement, which he renamed Lake George. There they built Fort George and Fort Edward on the upper Hudson.


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